New report from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Stresses the Need to Improve Diet Quality
Every 5 years the Dietary Advisory Committee (DGAC) composed of leading nutrition experts release a report that reflects evidence about healthy eating. This report forms the scientific basis for Dietary Recommendations for Americans issued by the federal government. For 2015, an emphasis was placed on developing recommendations of public health importance and it is clear that guidance is needed. The DGAC report states “The dietary patterns of the American public are suboptimal and are causally related to poor individual and population health and higher chronic disease rates. Unfortunately few improvements in consumers’ food choices have occurred in recent decades.”
These statistics highlight the need more than ever to improve the diet of Americans and an opportunity to improve the food supply chain by providing healthy, nutrient rich food options. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines will be released later this year. In the meantime, for those of you not wanting to read the full 572 page report some key points are summarized below.
An emphasis was placed on increasing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy as well as seafood. Foods high in sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugar and refined gains should be consumed less.
What’s new in the 2015 report? Coffee intake was mentioned for the first time, and I am sure many people (including myself) will be reassured that moderate coffee intake can be part of a healthy diet. The committee recommended a limit on caloric intake from added sugars of no more than 10% of total daily intake. But the change garnering the most headlines surrounds cholesterol. Recommendations to limit dietary intake of cholesterol are gone reflecting evidence that the majority of cholesterol in the blood is from the liver not the diet.
Other impactful changes have been overshadowed thus far by the coffee, added sugar and cholesterol stories. Vitamin E is now listed as a ‘shortfall’ nutrient along with previously named nutrients, vitamins A, D, and C, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. The committee also states that fortified foods, broadening fortification of dairy and use of dietary supplements containing vitamin D can be effective strategies for meeting the RDA of vitamin D. Recognizing the importance of fortification and supplementation is an important advance given the nearly ubiquitous suboptimal levels in the US and worldwide.
Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Available from: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/PDFs/Scientific-Report-of-the-2015-Dietary-Guidelines-Advisory-Committee.pdf